• It is Friday, December 21 and that means I am here to help break down tonight’s DFS slate and find some value. We have 10 games to sort through and we will have to monitor the news throughout the day for some of these plays to be in their best spots. Nonetheless, there is plenty of information we do have to go off of and plenty of options all over the board. Let’s jump right into this slate.

    Point Guard

    Jrue Holiday vs. Lakers $9,000 – We have some bodies that will be questionable going into late games and if Julius Randle and Nikola Mirotic are out we know Holiday sees a huge bump in usage. If Anthony Davis is forced to miss as well, well, just expect a ton of shots by Holiday. This is the one guy that could benefit from any Pelicans missing the game that doesn’t also have a questionable tag himself. This is a great spot on paper and the matchup is going to be fast. I wish he was still in the $8,000-$8,800 range, but I’ll still be getting plenty of exposure. Kyrie Irving makes for a solid pivot off of Holiday. Similar price range and both are very much in play.

    Donovan Mitchell vs. $7,100 Blazers – I just think this price tag is too low for Mitchell’s upside. The matchup could be better, but it’s not terrible. He’s taken over 20 shot attempts in each of the past three games and is averaging 34.3 DK over his last five games. He also makes a great pivot to a chalkier Derrick Rose play at a similar price.

    Fred VanVleet vs. Cavs $5,500 – There isn’t much meat left on bone with this price tag, but we know he will be getting plenty of minutes and the Cavs are one of the league’s worst teams at defending opposing point guards. As of early Friday morning I am not seeing a whole lot of value that I am locking in and VanVleet still possesses 35 DK-point upside.

    Shooting Guard

    Victor Oladipo vs. Nets $8,100 – Similar to Mitchell, I think that we are seeing Oladipo at a depressed salary. The matchup is a great one on paper and when these two teams faced off earlier in the year Oladipo dropped 46.3 DK points. Not much more to say about Dipo, he’s due to blow up soon and we have to remember what this guy’s price tag was looking like earlier in the season.

    Derrick Rose vs. Spurs $7,200 – We are seeing a price increase for Rose coming off of a massive overtime game where he took 29 shots. No Teague means we are going to see a boatload of Rose. He is going to be a somewhat chalky play, but I am hoping the matchup and price tag steer some people away from him and I am still expecting a massive usage for him tonight.

    Kent Bazemore vs. Knicks $6,200 – I’ve been riding Bazemore ever since Taurean Prince has gone down and this doesn’t look like the matchup to get off. It should be played at a face pace and I am not expecting a lot of defense to played. Bazemore has immense upside given the fact that he could rack up steals and rebounds quickly and the Knicks are a team that has some turnover-prone guards.

    Small Forward

    Kawhi Leonard vs. Cavs $9,500 – We already know that Kyle Lowry has been ruled out, so if you think this game stays close, jump on Leonard. There is obvious risk of blowout here, but that isn’t scaring me away from Leonard given his price tag with Lowry out. Leonard has already played the Cavs twice this season and is averaging almost 50 DK points per game; Lowry played in one of those games.

    Kyle Kuzma vs. Pelicans $7,200 – Kuzma has been one of the primary focuses of this Laker offense since Brandon Ingram has been out. By now, you guys know I love targeting the Pelicans due to the pace and high scoring. This is a fair price at $7,200 as he is averaging 36 DK points over the past five games and has been seeing a boatload of minutes. I really need Ingram to be ruled out to load up on Kuzma and I am a little worried because this is the late game and Ingram participated in Thursday’s practice.

    Gordon Hayward vs. Bucks $5,400 – I was all over Hayward in the Celtics’ last game against the Suns. Marcus Morris was ruled out of that game prior to tipoff and that opens up the opportunity for Hayward to take advantage of the small ball lineups. The problem was he only took eight shot attempts, but on the bright side still managed 28.75 DK points so I didn’t get burned. Morris is currently being considered questionable and if forced to miss again I am going right back to the well. I am not looking at a whole ton of value this slate and if the chips fall into place Hayward could be viable. We could also to look to Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis in the situation in which Morris misses as well. Theis should see a small bump regardless with Aron Baynes being ruled out already, but I am really worried this game goes small.

    Power Forward

    Anthony Davis vs. Lakers $11,700 – The whole world was burned by Davis last game when he took one of his notorious trips to the locker room. He was on pace to smash and had 29.5 DK points at the end of the first quarter. If Randle and Mirotic are both forced to sit out again I think we have to look this way. We have a ton of mid-tier value, so spending up on Davis may not be the optimal approach, but I can promise that I will have exposure if the situation sets up right.

    Jaren Jackson Jr. vs. Kings- $5,800 – I love this spot for Jackson regardless, but I am going to be all over him if JaMychal Green is ruled out. Currently Green is being listed as a GTD with left hamstring soreness, so this isn’t just a case where he is questionable with an illness. I will be tentative to play Jackson if Green does play, but he will be low-owned and not having the news could play into our advantage.

    Pascal Siakam vs. Cavs $6,300 – If we get the word that Serge Ibaka is sitting out again I think we go back to the well. It’s pretty simple with this situation in DFS.  If any main pieces of this Raptors’ offense are out we see Kawhi Leonard and Siakam get a huge increase in usage. It’s the first game of the night so the news should be there for us.

    Center

    Nikola Vucevic vs. Bulls $9,200 – The Bulls are poor against defending every position, the center spot being one of their worst. Vucevic missed the last game due to the birth of a child, which gives us a little narrative. It also gave him plenty of time to rest coming into this game. He is a little expensive, but we also saw him drop 49 DK points in this matchup earlier this season.

    Enes Kanter vs. Hawks $7,000 – We know what kind of upside Kanter has on any given night and with Mitchell Robinson already ruled out we get a security blanket on his minutes. This is a great spot for Kanter as this should be a fast-paced game with very little defense being played. There is always risk baked into playing any Knicks, but the upside is there for both Kanter and Hardaway on this slate.

    Larry Nance Jr. vs. Raptors $6,700 – Nance is in play every night. He is a boom/bust type play where if the games stay close he is almost guaranteed to boom. Nance has been doing it all and filling the stat sheet in these situations and the Cavs have been hanging around in games longer than expected. Kyle Lowry has already been ruled out and that may be the help we need to keep this game close in order for Nance to smash for us again.

    As always I would just like to give a big thank you to those who have supported the “Beat the Expert” Hoop Ball contest. We filled up 61 spots and I am hoping to see that number rise next week. If you have any questions or concerns you could find me on Twitter @mikeapotria. Good Luck and take down a GPP for the Hoop Ball community.

Fantasy News

  • OG Anunoby
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    Coach Nick Nurse intends to put OG Anunoby "back out there in a primary role."

    With Kawhi Leonard vacating the starting small forward spot, Anunoby is the leading candidate to take the role. Before the arrival of Leonard, Anunoby started 62 games in his rookie season. Last season he started 6 out of 67 games, and missed the entire playoffs due to an emergency appendectomy. He averaged 7.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks over 20.2 minutes per game, while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor, 33.2 percent from 3-point range and 58.1 percent from the free-throw line. He can be picked up as a late round flier in drafts.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Daryl Macon
    PG, Miami Heat

    The Heat have signed Daryl Macon.

    Macon getting picked up by another NBA squad after a solid Summer League campaign is not a shocker. If he were to crack the rotation he would post a nice assist rate, but it is unlikely Macon will be getting playing time unless something goes terribly wrong for the Heat this season.

    Source: NBA

  • Tahjere McCall
    F, Atlanta Hawks

    The Hawks signed Tahjere McCall from their Summer League team.

    This is just a depth signing for the Hawks. He shouldn't see much court time on the NBA floor if he makes the main roster out of camp

    Source: Kevin Chouinard on Twitter

  • Thabo Sefolosha
    SF, Houston Rockets

    Marc Stein is reporting that the Rockets will sign Thabo Sefolosha.

    Sefolosha was among the names at a recent mini camp, and he should make for a nice fit as a defensive stopper off the bench. The Rockets have a pretty thin group of reserves so we'd expect Sefolosha to be a regular rotation player, which puts him on the board as a steals specialist in deep leagues.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Tyler Zeller
    C, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets have signed C Tyler Zeller to the training camp roster on Thursday.

    Zeller played all of six games last season with the Hawks and Grizzlies. Zeller will try to latch on as a third-string C for the Nuggets' deep frontcourt. Zeller is off the fantasy radar.

    Source: Chris Dempsey on Twitter

  • Luke Kennard
    SG, Detroit Pistons

    Coach Dwane Casey said that he is not sure if he will start Luke Kennard or have him run a lot of the second-team offense.

    In addition, Casey mentioned that Kennard dealt with some knee tendinitis earlier this summer. Kennard is likely competing with Bruce Brown Jr. for the starting two-guard spot. We'll see how the rotation starts to shape in the preseason, but both players will get minutes either way.

    Source: NBA

  • Blake Griffin
    PF, Detroit Pistons

    Coach Dwane Casey revealed that although the team's training staff is easing him into things, Blake Griffin (knee) is back on the court and playing.

    Coach Casey added that the team expects Griffin to be at 100% with "no lingering effects." It looks like Griffin is progressing nicely in his return and should be all systems go for the start of the season. With Griffin's extensive injury history, the team may manage him more this year. Coming off a career year, he's expected to be an early middle-round selection.

    Source: NBA

  • Victor Oladipo
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Coach Nate McMillan said that Victor Oladipo (knee) probably wouldn't play on opening night.

    Videos have surfaced this summer of Oladipo doing on-court work, and by all accounts, he is progressing well. Coach McMillan said that Oladipo isn't playing live yet and it would seem he still has hurdles to climb. Even when Oladipo does return, he will likely be facing minute restrictions and frequent days off, at least initially. Jeremy Lamb figures to be the biggest beneficiary of Oladipo's absence.

    Source: NBA

  • Nikola Vucevic
    C, Orlando Magic

    In an interview Wednesday, Magic head coach Steve Clifford said he could see Nikola Vucevic improving across all areas of his game, and echoing his player's belief that he is in his prime.

    One of the areas Clifford thought Vucevic could improve upon was his 3-point shooting percentage, and also seemed to indicate that he could contonue to up his play on defense. He's unquestionably solidified himself as the anchor of this team, and the Magic as a whole are likely eyeing to improve upon their momentum as a rising young playoff team in an Eastern Conference that looks pretty weak after the top four to five teams. Expect Vucevic to produce safe second-round value this season.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Deandre Ayton
    C, Phoenix Suns

    Suns General Manager James Jones said in a recent interview that Deandre Ayton is capable of playing PF if needed.

    One could chalk this up to either Ayton continuing his development in becoming a more dynamic offensive player, or the Suns covering up for the lack of depth on their roster at PF. In reality it's likley a mix of both, and is a positive for Ayton's value heading into this season. If he does end up spending meaningful time at the four, it would not bode well for the value of Dario Saric, who is already barely going at the end of drafts in 9-cat leagues.

    Source: NBA.com